Brooklyn, New York
August 18, 2005
After entering this undiscovered haunt, Danny and I are always presented, respectively, with a Budweiser and glass of chardonnay. Tommy, our usual friendly, funny bartender, stopped asking for our order long ago. Now he simply raises a wine glass in my direction and waits for me to nod. Is that a bad sign?
After I admonish Danny for his beer choice, Nicole, a bartender with more ink than my drinking partner, comes to greet us. We tend to talk amongst and Tommy and ourselves when not surrounded by friends, but other bar-hoppers strike up conservations outside their cliques—unusual in Manhattan. And the crowd here is not generic. You have your frat boys, nerd types, normal 20-somethings, and one or two awfully quiet, slightly strange males.
Although bar seats do fill up early on weekend evenings, the wooden booths reminiscent of oversized church pews are equally appealing. Beside them, the pool table is never deserted. New York bar patrons don’t let amateur pool players lose, either; you should know what you’re doing or be able to fake it really well.
If you start to stumble by the 4am closing time, Tommy and Nicole will take embarrassing alcohol-induced moments in stride. They don’t let it get out of hand, but they don’t sneer at you either. And the less-than-intimidating "bouncers" they’ve employed couldn’t exactly throw you out; maybe "drag" would be a better word.
If staying out till sunrise isn’t a novelty anymore, consider The Abbey for a possible Sunday-afternoon sanctuary. Bowls of popcorn from their very own machine dot the long bar, and old movies play on their two TVs. The 10 to 15 drinkers remain hushed, only rarely imparting sarcastic remarks regarding the movie of choice. Sometimes even the down-to-earth owner quietly patters in, like the time when Bonnie and Clyde covered the screens, making one big happy (tipsy) family.
From journal Under the glitzy image of New York City